My father-in-law has five daughters and one son. Before he died, he left a hand-written Will in which he mentioned nicknames of his children. Will each of their share have to be registered by release deed or gift deed? If it is a release deed, will all of them have to sign it? What happens if two out of the five children are not willing to sign? What happens if none of them sign it?

—N.K. Mohiddin

Any person (testator), who is 18 years old or above and is of sound mind, is eligible to make a Will. As long as the Will is clear on the intention and as to the person (beneficiary) to whom the testator wanted to bequeath the property, use of a nickname of the beneficiary should not prevent the Will from taking effect. In case any person challenges the said Will, the onus will be on such person to prove that the nickname does not clearly indicate the beneficiary to whom the property has been bequeathed.

In order to give effect to a bequeath made under a Will, there is no requirement of execution of a gift deed or a release deed in favour of the beneficiary, by other legal heirs, unless the bequeath has been made exclusively to a legal heir and not to all the legal heirs.

Further, whoever is gifting their share in favour of the other person will have to sign the release deed or the gift deed, as the case may be. The said release deed or the gift deed is then required to be registered with the concerned sub-registrar of properties after paying applicable stamp duty on the said deed. In case, no release deed has been signed, the property will continue to vest upon the beneficiaries mentioned in the Will.

Abhilash Pillai is partner, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Queries and views at